Cemetery plan would provide new space for pets

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — City officials are recommending the addition of a pet cemetery at Elmwood Cemetery. 

During council’s April 22 study session, Cemetery Manager Aaron Corr suggested the addition as a way to utilize space that isn’t ideal for human burials and create an additional stream of revenue for the cemetery.

Corr said the area for the pet cemetery is located just west of the office building, and because of its proximity to the building, isn’t ideal for human burials. 

“It’s not being used for anything,” he said of the space. “You look for a human burial, it’s not a desirable space, it’s really close to the building and most of the time people don’t want to be that close to where all of the work is going on.”

He said the site is “a beautiful area” with grass, trees and bushes around. He said the addition of the pet cemetery would mean the cemetery could serve every family member residents in the community have, which they’re currently missing out on. 

The city would sell plots as a 4-by-2-foot plot, with one full burial or two cremation burials per plot. Residents would pay $175 for the burial site and perpetual care, while non-residents would pay $250 for those services.

Proposed cemetery rules state monuments in the pet cemetery would be flat granite markers or bronze on granite no bigger than 3 feet by 20 inches. Granite vases would be allowed so residents can remember their pets, but no plantings of any type will be allowed.

Council members were intrigued with the idea of starting a pet cemetery. Councilman Rex Bell pointed out that it’s a very sought-after market and believes it will be successful when residents find out about it.

Councilwoman Lynn Baca found herself skeptical of the idea yet fascinated, saying it’s a sign of the times where people now consider their pets as part of the family. 

“I think to honor their pets this way, it’s something we can offer,” she said. “Certainly, it’s real estate in the cemetery that’s being underutilized... so I think that’s a great idea.” 

Mayor Pro Tem Kirby Wallin wanted to know what would happen if the pet cemetery was “wildly successful.” Corr said the cemetery could be expanded north or south of the area he has plotted now. If it became “very successful,” he could even expand it so it’s closer to the office building.

The initial cost of starting the pet cemetery is approximately $300 this year — $100 for cement in laying out the cemetery and $200 to cover the cost of brochures.

Council will consider the matter during its May 5 meeting.